Manchester: Chelsea football club manager Jose Mourinho has defended his decision to substitute captain John Terry at half-time during their 0-3 English Premier League (EPL) defeat against Manchester City.
With City leading 1-0 at the break during Sunday’s game, Mourinho sent in Kurt Zouma to replace Terry. It was the first time that the Chelsea boss decided to substitute the central defender in an EPL match.
The 34-year-old England defender had played every minute of every EPL match last season under Mourinho, leading Chelsea to their first title since 2009-10.
But Mourinho asserted that conditions during Sunday’s clash at the Etihad Stadium warranted the change.
When Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero raced clear of the Chelsea back-line moments after kick-off to force an excellent save from the Blues’ goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, Mourinho realised that his defensive strategy was already crumbling.
“It was clear to me Zouma has to play,” the Portuguese manager was quoted as saying by BBC. “The point was not to take John out it was to bring Zouma in – I wanted my fastest player on the pitch, not on the bench.”
“When the game started and 10 seconds later you have Aguero behind the defensive line and facing Begovic, immediately you get the notion that the start wasn’t good. After that he made two or three saves because of that fragility,” he added.
The 52-year-old also said that previous managers Roberto Di Matteo and Rafael Benitez had overlooked Terry on several occasions, adding that the Chelsea skipper would have left the defending EPL champions without him.
“I don’t know if you asked questions to Rafa Benitez, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo, to the ones that never played him,” Mourinho said. “I’m the one you shouldn’t ask because I’m the one that plays with John in every game.”
“I made John captain. I recovered John from a difficult situation with other managers.
I brought my captain off and he was on the bench and still captain on the bench because the armband is just an armband,” he added.
“I can tell you he was not dancing in the dressing room and I can also tell you he was not having a bad reaction.”